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A/N: You can probably guess what is going to happen by the chapter title but don’t be too mad at me guys!

Disclaimer: I only own my OCs and the plot but everything you recognise from the Harry Potter world does not belong to me but the talented J.K. Rowling.





 

My head was absolutely pounding when I came to. It felt like someone was drilling a hole into the side of my forehead. And I felt incredibly nauseous as well. Dread filled me at the prospect of opening my eyes because I could already tell it was bright outside from the orange tint on the back of my eyelid. An involuntary groan escaped my lips as I tried to move any part of my body, soon finding out that my muscles were incredibly achy.


“That’s it Elle,” a woman’s voice was softly reverberating around the room I was in and coaxing me to wake up, “Just open your eyes, I have something for you,” I groaned yet again, peeling my left eye open slowly before implanting it into the floor again because of the blinding white light that assaulted me first thing, “I promise if you take this it’ll get better,” the woman told me sternly as I tried to open my eyes once again. It was difficult and it took a while for them to get adjusted to the brightness of the room before I looked up at said woman, “Morning Elle.” Valerie smiled, offering me a vial with a purple/turquoise-y coloured liquid inside.


“Ugh,” I wrinkled my nose up in repulsion as I realised what it was, “Don’t make me drink that.” I pleaded, my voice cracked and dry from the amount of alcohol I must have drunk last night.


“Come on you’ll feel better and it’ll all be out of your system,” she persuaded me, bringing the bottle closer and closer to my mouth. Reluctantly I opened it, letting her poor the foul tasting – and smelling – drink down my throat and shivered once it had settled. Almost immediately I could feel the vomit rising in my stomach and Valerie seemed to understand what I needed and half-dragged me to the toilet bowl where I promptly threw up everything in my stomach, “Try and keep it down Elle otherwise it won’t work.”


“I’m trying,” I heaved even more and started coughing up phlegm when my stomach had nothing more to give. It reminded me of the times in my past when I’d sometimes wake up in a pool of my own sick or surrounded by half-finished shots with cigarette butts in them, “I can’t stop being sick.” I managed to croak out as even more bile rose up, slopping heavily into the toilet bowl below me. I vaguely registered that Valerie was holding my hair back and flushing the toilet every so often for me and it made me wonder why she hadn’t tried to be my friend beforehand.


“I can see that,” she pointed out dryly, her voice muffled almost as if she had something over her mouth and nose, “Here, drink some water.” She handed me a glass and I sipped on it lightly until the space between vomiting-episodes became longer.


“What time is it?” I slowly moved my head up to meet her eyes but had to squint because of how bright the bathroom light was.


“Eleven.” She answered after walking back into the bedroom to check the wall clock.
“Where even am I?” It slowly dawned on me that I wasn’t in my villa room and that I was in some random person’s room with Valerie. What the hell had happened last night?


“In my hotel room at my resort,” she gave me a knowing glance and we both chuckled at the fact it wasn’t really her resort because she’d faked the whole thing, “You really don’t remember last night then?” She looked down at me as if she was almost disappointed that I hadn’t remembered something.


“I remember speaking to you at the bar but after talking about Travis… not really no…” I scratched my head and then moved my fingers down to rub my temples whilst I continuously sipped on the fresh, cool water.


“That’s a shame, you were really fun after that.” She gained an amused smirk on her face as I looked up at her, feeling all the colour drain from my face.


“Oh God, what did I do?” I was almost too scared to even ask that question.


“You mean you don’t remember doing karaoke? Or betting some guy you could beat him at pool? And losing miserably so offered them a lap-dance in return for the money?” She listed off her fingers as I buried my head in my hands. Little snippets suddenly came rushing back as she said each one. I could see a dim audience clapping along happily to whatever I was singing and then I could see a guy with short blond hair bragging about his winnings before I started making deals with him. Then Valerie dragged me away and back here before I could do anything really damaging.


“Oh my God…” I whimpered in loathing at myself. Not only for getting so badly drunk again but for getting so drunk I didn’t remember anything the next day. Nothing good had ever come out of that before. Ever. Not to mention I had tried to exchange a sexual dance for money and that’s what scared me the most, maybe I’d never really changed. Maybe I was just destined to end up like some crack-whore who ends up dead in some ditch and gets about five minutes of screen-time on the news before millions of people judged my life without even getting the chance to know it. That was the way my life was really supposed to go, wasn’t it?


“Don’t worry, I pulled you away in time. Brought you back here where you promptly passed out on the floor,” Valerie announced happily not aware of any of the inner turmoil that was currently going on in my head, “Not since Scotland have I ever seen you that drunk,” she added not making me feel any better, “By the way your phone has been ringing off the hook all morning. Apparently you’re very popular.” She stood up, walked back into the bedroom and once I was stable enough to stand, I followed her. My phone was laid on the bedside table with the screen facing downwards. Horror filled me as I looked at it finally to see nearly thirty missed calls and multiple text messages. All from either Ginny, Lily, Molly, Dom or James.

James.

And with that thought my whole world came crashing down again and I abruptly remembered why I got completely wasted last night. The image of Courtney and James kissing replayed on the back of my eyelids every time I closed my eyes but I just couldn’t get rid of it. No matter how hard I tried, it just wouldn’t go away. I could feel my temporarily numb heart splinter once again bringing a whole new level to the meaning pain. Slowly I unlocked my phone, got rid of the missed calls icon and tapped on the messages.

 

Ginny: Where the hell are you Elle?! I woke up this morning to see your bed empty with no note or text message to say where you’ve gone?!
Sent over an hour ago

 

Ginny: Why aren’t you answering your phone?
Sent over an hour ago

 

Lily: We’re getting really worried now Elle… Mum’s tried getting hold of you but can’t… you’re meant to be getting ready right about now xxx
Sent over an hour ago

 

Lily: Answer your bloody phone woman!
Sent 40 minutes ago

 

Molly: I was only joking about the second thoughts thing last night Elle xxx
Sent over 40 minutes ago

 

Dom: Everyone’s going mental, answer your phone!
Sent 30 minutes ago

 

Ginny: We don’t know where you are! We don’t know where you went last night! I’m starting to get extremely worried now, please answer your phone so we know nothing bad has happened to you?
Sent 15 minutes ago

 

Ginny: I’m going to have to tell James… please don’t tell me you actually are having second thoughts?
Sent 5 minutes ago

 

The last text message from Ginny absolutely broke my already ruined heart. I could feel the guilt eating me up inside at what I had done last night. It was selfish and I can’t believe I didn’t tell Ginny where I was going or what I was doing. Why didn’t I leave her a message?! Why am I such a fuck-up? I didn’t even realise that I had started sobbing until Valerie had sat next to me on the bed and pulled me into an awkward side hug.


“What are you gonna do?” She asked bravely when I’d settled down after a while of crying hysterically.


“I – don’t – know!” I paused to allow myself time to breath in between words.


“You can’t get married to someone like that Elle… you’ll be even more miserable further down the line.” She advised me seriously and she was the first one to be completely honest with me. And maybe that’s what I needed to hear. The truth. Instead of trying to convince myself that everything was fine and going to right itself eventually.


“I know, but I’d be letting James down, and Ginny,” I wiped away the tears roughly, “And Lily… and basically the whole Potter and Weasley family. They wanted him to move on from Courtney…” the name cut through me harshly like a knife as I spoke it, “It would crush everyone if they found out that it was all fake to make it look like he’d moved on when he really hadn’t.” I sulked, shrinking into myself before flopping down on the bed in a huff. I just didn’t know what to do anymore. I thought everything was black and white to begin with but now I know that there’s more shades of grey than solid colours.


“Screw letting them down! He used you to get back with his ex, Elle. No-one deserves to be treated like that!” Valerie said passionately and I stared at her in shock for a few seconds before my eyes returned to the white ceiling. What she was saying was true but I couldn’t help but feel twice the guilt at having disappointed James. It was probably because I was in love with him and would do anything despite it hurting me. Why did I have to fall in love with him? Why did he have to be a good actor?


“I know but…” I trailed off not making eye contact with her.


“You’re gonna do it anyway,” I could hear the withdrawn sigh in her voice, “Aren’t you?” Just then my phone buzzed, showing me that I had a text from James.

 

James: Mum’s told me everything. What’s happened? Where are you?
Sent a few seconds ago

 

I could feel the nervousness radiating off that text and knew what my decision would be.


“I have to Valerie, I can’t let James’ family be saddened in him again,” I sighed loudly, heaving myself off the bed and standing up difficultly. As I put my phone down the screen lit up, “Ginny’s calling me…” I whispered, putting the phone down gently on the bed and staring at it with something akin to absolute fear.


“Well answer it then.” Valerie said simply.


“Yeah and what do I say? ‘Hi Ginny, sorry I went out last night to tell your son – who I’m supposed to be marrying tomorrow – that I was madly in love with him and I didn’t want to pretend anymore but saw him kissing his ex and got so obliterated that I ended up in my ex-rivals hotel room’? Yeah that’ll go down a treat!” I retorted sarcastically. I watched in alarm as she bent down, picked it up and then put the phone to her ear.


“Hello?” I didn’t even realised I was holding my breath until she spoke again, “Uh, it’s Valerie,” she paused as she listened to what Ginny was saying, “Sorry about the worry, I asked her if she could meet me. We sorted everything out and I told her it was too late to go back to the villa by herself so she stayed here,” she swiftly stopped and nodded her head before remembering that Ginny wasn’t in the room, “Sorry again! I must have forgotten to set an alarm or slept through it but she’s just in the bathroom getting ready now,” I was frozen on the spot, waiting for the loud shouting on the other side but it never came, “Sure I’ll bring her round as soon as she’s finished. Okay, bye,” she pressed the little red button to end the call and chucked the phone back at me, “If you’re really going to go through with this… you need to compose yourself within ten minutes before I take you back.” And with that I sprinted into the bathroom, brushed my teeth and rinsed my eyes with cold water to get rid of a little redness around them. When I felt like I was sufficient-looking I spent another few minutes just psyching myself up to face everyone. Especially James.


“Okay… I think I’m ready?” I said unsurely, reminding myself internally to take deep breaths.


“You can’t ‘think’ you’re ready! You either are or you’re not!” She rolled her eyes and threw her hands up in frustration.


“Fine,” I rolled my eyes in response, “I’m definitely ready.” She gestured for me to exit the room, down the corridor and into the elevator. It took a whole lot of deep breathing and distractions to stop myself from having a massive panic attack. It didn’t help that I could feel the anxiety bubble getting larger the more I thought about how I should react when I saw them or what I should say or what I would do if James was there.


“You’re fidgeting.” Valerie pointed out oh so helpfully.


“Sorry.” I put my hands behind my back and tried not to move so much. It didn’t even faze me that people were staring at me because of the fact I was wearing last night’s dress in a posh resort because I had so many other things on my mind.


“Are you sure you’re ready to do this Elle?” She looked at me one last time when we reached the apparition spot. Instead of answering I nodded my head violently just because I could feel vomit rising in my throat again so I didn’t want to speak in case it came spewing out. I locked my arm onto hers and side-along apparated with her. Except this time it was worse and I only just managed to keep the sick down as we landed before I ran to the nearest bush and everything came up straight away.


“Oh crap…” I think I heard Valerie murmur to herself. Speedily I could feel my hair being moved out the way and tapped her arm as a gesture of thanks, “Sorry I should have warned you about that. You okay?”


“Yeah,” I croaked out, spitting a little bit of phlegm once I knew I had finished and wiped my mouth on a random tissue that had been handed to me out the corner of my eye, “Yeah I’m okay now,” I stood back up straight and looked into her eye sheepishly, “You don’t happen to have any chewing gum do you?”


“Nope sorry.” She shrugged, vanishing the dirty tissue away. We both walked up to the front door of the villa together in silence, Valerie because she had no reason to talk and me because I didn’t want to talk. I wanted today to be over with so I could climb under the covers and forget about the world for a while, maybe a month or two. She knocked on the door twice and I held my breath sharply, a million different things running through my head as I heard fast footsteps on the other side of the door. It swung open to reveal both Ginny and Lily looking incredibly relieved.


“Oh thank God!” she exclaimed happily, the worry lines around her eyes and on her forehead disappearing as she scoured every inch of my body to make sure I really was there, “Thank God you’re alright!” She pulled me into a tight, bone-crushing hug as Lily had a weird expression on her face. Almost like she was caught between relief and glaring at me.


“Hi.” Was all I managed to say and it came out so quietly that I’m pretty sure no-one heard it.


“Thank you Valerie, thank you!” Ginny stepped around me once she’d let me go and shook said woman’s hand violently. Lily locked her arm through mine which kept me from running away.


“It’s okay,” she mumbled, her face going a bit pink, “I’m sorry for making you worry so much. I didn’t expect we’d be out for as long as we were.” She lied for me, genuinely looking sincere and both girls believed it.


“Well at least she’s here now.” Ginny sighed happily and she seemed to regain her excited and bubbly nature all at once. She turned to me with a wide smile, which I tried to return believe me, but I couldn’t move any muscle in my entire body.


“See you soon, okay Elle?” Valerie gave me a knowing look that nearly made me cry again and I nodded my head, swallowing past the lump in my throat difficultly.


“See you.” I replied monotonously, staring after her even after she’d apparated and Ginny had closed the door.


“It’s okay everyone! She’s here!” Ginny suddenly announced loudly into the villa which made me flinch because my head was still throbbing from earlier. However all of that was pushed to the back of my mine when I heard footsteps coming from the kitchen followed by the very face I was dreading seeing the most. James practically sprinted into the foyer, the worry had dispersed as soon as his eyes latched onto my face and was replaced by a huge grin.

My heart was beating loudly in my chest, threatening to be heard by everyone in the vicinity and give everything away. He sighed, coming forward to embrace me and I froze in place, letting him put his arms around me but didn’t return it. Once he pulled back I could immediately see his lips lowered down to mine in slow motion but all I could think about was the fact that those lips had been all over Courtney’s last night. So at the last minute I turned my head so that they connected with my cheek instead. He pulled back with a mix between confusion and hurt written bluntly on his face before he corrected himself. I couldn’t even look at him anymore.


“Sorry I’ve just thrown up… I don’t think you’d want to kiss me…” I tried to play it off like a joke – accompanied by a dry laugh – but even I knew my voice was completely devoid of any emotions.


“I was so worried!” James grabbed hold of my hands giving it a gentle squeeze as I tried, and failed, to stay calm and neutral. The anger in me bubbled up at his last statement. Was he heck worried?! He was too busy out snogging his ex-girlfriend to be worried about me!


“Well I’m here now,” I retorted whilst endeavouring to keep the mirth out of my voice, “And anyway, it’s bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding.” I added as hint that he should leave now.


“Exactly James! You’ve seen her now so you need to go and start getting ready too!” Ginny ushered him towards the door as Lily pulled me up the stairs. I looked over my shoulder one last time at him before I’d see him at the altar and the last expression I saw was plain worry.


“Don’t worry about being late or whatever,” Lily whispered in my ear whilst dragging me towards the master bedroom. I was trying to focus in on what she was saying but I couldn’t make any sense of the words coming out of her mouth because James’ face a few seconds ago was the only thing I could see. He knew. He knew that I was definitely having second thoughts and he knew that I needed reassurance even more now, “We’re still on time with getting ready. It’s just Mum wanted to do some special preparation stuff this morning but it wasn’t necessary.” She just kept rambling and rambling. When she pushed the door open, I nearly stumbled back in shock as the familiar face of Elena was staring back at me with a wide smile. The dress was hung up on the back of the door protected by a dress suit, the matching shoes were laid underneath it and I could see a medium-sized clear toiletry bag with all the hair and make-up items.


“Hola Elle,” she stood up instantly, her hands held out in front of her as she grasped my face, “You look a little worse for wear.”


“I feel like that too…” I laughed humourlessly, “You don’t happen to have any hangover potion on you, do you?” I leaned in and whispered to her whilst she hugged me.


“No señora,” she stepped back aghast at my blunt question and quickly checked through her bag again, “Sorry.”


“I guess I’m walking down the aisle hungover then.” I smiled widely despite my inner pain and sat down on the make-up chair she had set up.


“That’s a shame, will Lily not have any?” She questioned mindlessly, combing her fingers through my hair and then brushing through it properly with a paddle brush.


“I don’t know whether she’s brought any on holiday with her… and I’m too scared to ask if I’m honest,” I admitted quietly knowing she was in the room but admiring the dress, “I wasn’t supposed to get this drunk last night.”


“Ah.” She nodded her head in understanding, walked over to Lily and whispered something in her ear. Lily nodded slightly and left the room hastily.


“What did you say to her?” I asked curiously, watching as Elena meticulously curled each section of my hair one-by-one.


“I told her that I wasn’t feeling too good today after drinking a lot last night and wondered if she had any potion that could help.” She answered and I smiled genuinely this time.


“Thank you.” My face burned bright pink as I went back to silently observing her doing my hair. Lily came back in a few moments later with the same liquid Valerie had tried to make me drink this morning, passed it to Elena and was dismissed yet again by said woman.


“There you go, drink up.” She handed me the bottle immediately and I gulped a bit down in my haste to get rid of this sick feeling and my pounding headache. My head cleared after a few minutes but the sick feeling never went away, which just made me feel worse overall. The feeling just kept getting bigger and bigger but I refused to get up and ruin Elena’s work so I held it down. Which did not help either because the more I struggled to think about something else, the more I thought about James and Courtney or James’ face or Ginny’s worried face before she saw me. My hands started feeling clammy and my breathing started getting heavier and heavier at the thought of me wearing that dress and walked down the aisle knowing James was going to be stood at the other end.


“Are you alright dear?” Elena’s voice pierced my hazy thoughts and I looked up at her, her face becoming more and more blurry as I struggled to focus.


“Mmhmm.” I muttered, feeling like my head suddenly weighed a ton as I nodded.


“I’ll let you have a little break, okay? I’ll be back in half an hour.” She told me gently, patting my shoulder in a motherly way before leaving me on my own in the gigantic room. Which was slowly shrinking second by second.

 

Smaller and smaller it became until I knew I had to get up and move around or move into another room to show myself that there was enough space and that it wasn’t closing in on me. I tried to remember what the doctor had told me about dealing with anxiety attacks but I was too far gone for it to do anything remotely helpful. The bathroom was where I ended up, feeling the cold tile floor against my feet was making me feel slightly better but I still had to grip the edge of the sink and right myself. The juxtaposition between the girl I was seeing in the mirror and the girl I was was shocking. The girl in the mirror was composed, her hair looked immaculate and she was stood firmly with a tight yet comfortable grip on the counter.

 

But me? I could tell I was a mess already, it was like I could feel the cracks and the flaws on my skin without physically seeing them there. The outside nowhere near reflected the inside.


“Come on, Elle, you can do this!” I told myself harshly, taking in several deep breaths and counting to ten and backwards repeatedly, “Come on, it’s just for a year. Come on!” I shook my shoulders and psyched myself up yet again but as I took my hands away from the counter to copy the confident stance of the girl in the mirror, I realised something.

 

I couldn’t.

 

I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t strong enough to, I was a coward and would much prefer to burrow and hide away somewhere rather than have to deal with my problems. And although I knew I had to face them eventually, I also knew that I would put them off and I would keep putting them off until it became absolutely necessary to do something about it. Or it all exploded in my face. My hand messily scribbled down a message before I stumbled hazily into the wardrobe, realising none of the clothes left in there were mine anyway. Lily had bought them all. I wandered cluelessly into the bedroom, gathered everything that was actually mine into a small carrier bag and got my phone out. I didn’t know who else to call so I settled on the only person I really desperately needed at this moment in time. The dial tone rang four times before he answered,


“Hello?”


“Dad…?” I answered helplessly, my voice catching in my throat.


“What’s wrong Elle?” his voice was laced with worry which took me by surprise for a few seconds before I promptly burst into hysterical tears, “Elle, I can’t understand anything you’re saying. Please just stop crying and try to explain to me again?” He asked calmly after I’d failed to tell him everything because of my crying.


“I – want – to – come – home!” I sobbed breathlessly. The line went silent for what felt like hours until he finally whispered something I was so relieved to hear,


“Come home then.” I nodded my head, hung up the phone and decided which was the best way to get out of the villa without any of them seeing me leave. The note I had messily scribbled out was laid on the bed in my haste to put it somewhere someone will see it but it looked so tiny compared to everything else. I even contemplated re-writing it to explain everything but I checked the clock to see Elena would be coming back in under five minutes.

 

As I left the bedroom, the sounds of the waves assaulted my ears and a little light at the end of the tunnel began to shine. My feet carried me as fast as they could towards the balcony, down the stairs and onto the beach area. Making sure I had all my belongings and that I wasn’t going to be visible to the villa or passing muggles, I quickly apparated away, feeling a weight being lifted off my shoulders. The travel from Spain to England seemed like it had taken an eternity to do but in reality it was a mere few seconds before I found myself in front of the familiar house. Almost instantly an even larger weight had been dumped onto me as I realised what I had done. I pushed the tears down, sprinted down the pathway and hammered on the door, biting my lip to keep the tears at bay.

 

The door swung open revealing my Dad holding a newspaper in one hand. He didn’t even get the chance to ask what was wrong or why I was there before I launched myself at him, burying my face into his shoulder and sobbing loudly. I didn’t even remember entering the house or him carrying me into the living room before I passed out on the living room couch from exhaustion.

 

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